Tsim Tung Brother Cream
With more than 100,000 Facebook fans, seven-and-a-half-year-old British Shorthair Tsim Tung Brother Cream, or just Brother Cream, lives in a 24-hour convenience store in TST East. Owner of both the shop and the cat, Ko Chee-shing, tells Mark Yuen about having a Facebook celebrity as a pet.
HK Magazine: Is Brother Cream your first pet?
Ko Chee-shing: I had a Pekingese before but gave it away because dogs were not allowed in my place. I also had a cat called “Fei Meow.”
HK: How did you adopt Brother Cream?
KC: Someone gave me Brother Cream. When we got the cat [about six years ago], it was already so chubby, like you see now. We were surprised. About eight months after that someone gave me another cat, a Scottish Fold called “Miu Miu.” Now, both cats live at the store.
HK: When did you create the Facebook Page for the cat?
KC: I didn’t create the page, and I seldom used Facebook back then. The page was created by Brother Cream’s fans Koey and Momo in July 2011. They came and took photos of the cat regularly—their initial idea of establishing the Facebook page was to share the cat’s photos among their friends who don’t live in Tsim Sha Tsui. It wasn’t until late August 2012 that I spoke to page owners—they then made me one of the page moderators. Now, we frequently communicate with each other and have cooperated to make some Brother Cream products [such as postcards]. The products are very popular among Brother Cream’s fans.
HK: In your view, what makes your cat so popular?
KC: First and foremost, the cat has an attractive appearance. Also, we’re open to all sorts of people taking photos of the cats as long as they don’t disturb our daily work. I don’t really mind if they don’t buy anything in my shop.
HK: What is the best time to visit the cat?
KC: We have set a resting period for the cat which is from 2pm to 6pm daily; and we have included Monday as a whole day off. We set these hours to ensure the cat gets enough rest. But you may not see the cat outside this timeframe either. The cat has his own freedom; if he wants to come out and meet his fans, he’ll be out. Otherwise, he’ll hide in my room. Some fans have waited for an hour to meet him while others who have came repeatedly haven’t seen him once.
HK: Any unfriendly visits thanks to your cat’s fame?
KC: Yes. Before, we didn’t set any rules and used to allow people to touch the cat. Due to the cat’s fame, now I’ve included a note saying “look but not touch.” Some people get annoyed by this and criticize me for acting lofty after the cat has become famous. But I think people should learn not to disturb the cat when it’s sleeping. Gentle touching when he’s awake is okay. When the cat is disturbed while sleeping, it’ll run away and other people won’t be able to take photos and so they’lll feel disappointed. On the other hand, some people poke his head to make him open his eyes for the photos, while other people say they won’t buy my things because they can’t see the cat. Basically, there are all different kinds of people.
HK: We know that the cat has had some advertising jobs. How do you strike a balance between fame and privacy?
KC: The cat has taken advertising jobs from Canon and Wing On Travel. Now, the cat is filming a TV series to be shown on Citybus. The purpose of doing these things is to bring positive energy to others. I donate some money to charities dedicated to animal protection—I think it’s worthwhile to sacrifice a bit for the benefit of many. I’m proud to be his owner, and to bring positive energy to the city.
Visit Mr. Ko and Brother Cream at Shop 1, G/F, South Seas Centre, 75 Mody Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui. Visit Brother Cream’s Facebook Page.